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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

EXTERNAL  EXAMINATION                                                61

or any other similar reason should not prevent him from performing this
most important, though too frequently unpleasant, duty.

No unauthorized person should be allowed to "be present at the autopsy.

Instruments.—The following instruments should be at hand before com-
mencing the examination : —

1. Scalpel. 2. Large Section knife. 3. Dissecting forceps. 4. A pair of
sharp pointed Scissors. 5. Saw. 6. Costotome. 7. Enterotome. 8. Blunt
probe. 9. Blow pipe. 10. A pair of iron hooks. 11. Straight and curved
needles. 12. Strong twine. 13. A measuring tape. 14. Measuring and
graduated glass containers. 15. China plates. 16. Basins to contain water.
17. Sponges. 18. A pair of thick India-rubber gloves with gauntlets or photo-
graphic gloves. 19. Machine for weighing organs. 20. At least two wide
mouthed, white glass bottles (with glass stoppers) of about one litre capacity
to contain portions of viscera.

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION
The following steps should be followed for the external examination : —

1.    The  body   should  be  identified  by  the   police   constable   and  the
chaukidar, who brought it to the mortuary.    It should also be identified by a
relative or friend of the deceased present on the spot.   These persons will
be required to give evidence in court of having identified the body in the
presence of the medical officer holding the post-mortem examination in case
a person is tried for having caused the death of the deceased.

2.    In the case of an unknown body, a general appearance of the body
describing the race, sex, age, stature, features, scars, tattoo-marks, etc., should
be noted for the purpose of identification.   The body should be photographed
and the finger prints taken.   The police should arrange for such a body to
be photographed  at  once,  before it gets  decomposed.   The  photograph  is
worthless after the features have become bloated and distorted from putre-
faction, but I have seen bodies photographed even after advanced putrefac-
tion.   At the request of the police the head may be preserved, for future
identification, in methylated spirit and a little formalin in a large closely
fitting glass jar or any other receptacle.

3.    If there are clothes on the body, they should be carefully examined
for stains of mud, tears, etc., indicating a struggle, before they are removed.
Stains  of blood,  semen,  vomit  or fsecal matter should  be  described and
preserved for chemical analysis. Cuts or rents caused by a cutting instrument,
burns caused by fire or acids, or blackening caused by discharges from fire-
arms should be carefully noted and compared with injuries on the body.

4.    In the case of a cord or ligature round the neck, its exact position,
manner and application of a knot or knots and its material should be noted.

5.    Age should be given from the presence of the teeth and other appear-
ances.   If, owing to rigor mortis, the jaw cannot be opened to count the
teeth, the cheeks should be cut to expose them.

6.    Time since death should be noted from the temperature of the body,
post-mortem staining, rigor mortis, stage of putrefaction, and even from the
degree of digestion of the stomach contents which, however,  only yields
evidence of doubtful value.

7.    The condition of the body, whether stout, emaciated, or decomposed,
should be mentioned.   The eyes should be examined and the opacity of the
cornea and lens should be noted particularly in vehicular accidents.   The
state of the pupils should also be noted as to whether they were contracted
or dilated.